Please welcome Kate Watterson to The Qwillery. Fractured, the 4th Detective Ellie MacIntosh novel, was published on March 10th by Forge.
Why do Mystery, Suspense, and Romance Blend so Well?
I think this question says a lot about human nature in general. I’m not a psychologist (though I do have a main character in that profession and plays a pivotal role in several of the books in my Ellie MacIntosh suspense series), so you are just getting my opinion, but I certainly can tell you what I like to read.
Mystery involves of course, our curiosity. What happened? How is this possible? Who is involved? And the most important question of all: how is the protagonist even remotely going to be able to figure out this puzzle? It challenges us as we follow along on the journey of discovery, and I don’t know about everyone else, but I do my best to outguess him or her. Not because I think I’m more clever (How many times has someone handed you a book and said: You’ll never guess who it is until the end…There’s a challenge if I’ve ever heard one. Yep, we’re all guessing), but because that is the joy of a really good mystery. Definitely exercise for our intellect.
Suspense is completely a visceral response to our natural instinct to fear dangerous situations. So we put ourselves in the place of the character and feel the emotions of the moment. When will they realize the threat is there? What are they going to do to escape it? Will they even be able to get out unscathed or alive? It is an almost physical reaction to words on a page that make us ask a different question than the mystery itself. What will happen next? It’s exciting and tends to make a book a true page-turner. Our pulse picks up, we read faster and faster…
As for romance, characters are, no matter if they are bad or good, human beings and we interact with each other in various ways, and that includes sexual attraction. Why a certain person is drawn to another is an intriguing question that adds another layer to any story. Of course we are fascinated by romance since it is the very fabric of life and if it didn’t exist, none of us would be here. It adds to the mystery since it begs the question, why this person and not that one? It builds the suspense, because not all romance goes smoothly (I’m sure I’m not wowing everyone with that fact we all know) so as we read and become more invested in the characters, we want to know on an emotional level whether they make a good choice or a bad one.
Put all three together and you have a compelling read.
To me the magic of a good book is that while we all have our own lives, we can, in those pages, live and breathe as someone else in a different place, maybe a different time, and completely different circumstances. The stories spark our imagination, make us feel emotions that might not surface in our day to day routine, and expand our world. When I discover a new author, or a new character, that hits the mark and devour a novel in one sitting (been known to happen…well, more than once. Or twice ) I absolutely love that feeling of anticipation for the next book.
As I sit here typing this, I’m wondering what kind of trouble Detective Ellie MacIntosh will bump into next. Can’t wait to find out!
Happy reading to everyone!
Kate [whisking off to write Ellie into an impossible corner]
Detective Ellie MacIntosh 4
Forge, March 10, 2015
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
Blending mystery and romance, Kate Watterson's Fractured finds Detective Ellie MacIntosh racing to stop a serial killer.
Milwaukee homicide detective Ellie MacIntosh's bizarre case takes gruesome to a new level--and is eerily and frustratingly familiar. She has seen the signature work of the killer before, but cannot connect the victims. There isn't a single suspect in sight, but at least the case gives Ellie something to focus on instead of her chaotic personal life.
Ellie's partner, Jason Santiago, is glad to be back on the job, even on a disturbing case like this one. Working with Ellie has evolved into a tangled relationship that is no longer platonic, at least to him. The trouble is, she has no idea how he feels. Jason's chance to make a move is now, but he's paralyzed by the fear he will ruin both his career and a partnership he values more than any he has ever had.
Therapist Dr. Georgia Lukens is fascinated by the complicated relationship between Ellie and Jason, but she has other, non-detective patients with deeper problems. When a timid woman named Rachel reveals that she suspects her promiscuous and charismatic roommate Lea has been involved in the grisly murders, Georgia is put into the untenable position of deciding if this privileged information is just the ramblings of a delusional patient or something more. And little does she know that Lea has become focused on Jason Santiago.
As Ellie pieces together a macabre puzzle of past and present sins, it becomes clear that madness takes many forms and…it may be too late to stop her partner from becoming the next victim.
Kate Watterson grew up on a steady diet of mystery/suspense novels. If it involves murder and intrigue, she is bound to be hooked. Kate also writes award-winning historical novels as Emma Wildes. She lives in rural Indiana with her husband, three children, and a temperamental cat named Poot. She is the author of the Detective Ellie MacIntosh series from Forge and the Danny Haase Mysteries from Tor.